Reflecting on 2019

Since 2011, I’ve used this list to help reflect back on the year.  I really enjoy looking back while preparing to move forward. So…

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?

Successfully completed the Krispy Kreme Challenge!   Guest poster on the blog (SMS)!  Straightened my teeth!  Visited my sister and her family in Japan!  Went to Harry Potter World!  Ate at a restaurant specializing in sardines!  Voted Teacher of the Year!  Promoted to Commander!  Drove cross-country with SMS! SMS and I were YouTube stars (“stars” is used very, very loosely)! Threw a 40th Birthday Party!  I was a Maid of Honor! Went to a State Fair!  Lost a parakeet (sorry to end on a sad note).

2.  Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I was so-so on the resolutions from last year’s list.  I did not do a triathlon, I only made marginal improvements in Spanish, and I was good at wellness habits the first half of the year but not as good after my move.

I do have a lot of resolutions and thoughts about the upcoming year.  I think the combination of 2020, turning 40, and a general feeling that I’m setting up for the second half/stage of my life and career is inspiring these thoughts.  For now, these goals are in my paper planner but maybe they’ll make an appearance in a post. Maybe.  Don’t want to  get too feeling-y on the blog!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.  My good luck continues.

5. What countries did you visit?

Japan

US (Cross Country Road Trip documented on YouTube and (slightly) on the blog!)

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?

A completed clinical study.  

7. What dates from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

2/2: Krispy Kreme winner (haha, jk, sort of)

8/9-8/12: Tahoe Vacation for SMS’ birthday

9/1: Sister’s wedding celebration!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I was really, really proud to be voted Teacher of the Year by the residents.  It was also nice to finally promote to Commander.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Still no clinical trial and this Fall, three papers I’m on as an author were rejected.  Ugh.  Time for resubmissions!  Always forward!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

From September on, I’ve had a few mild musculoskeletal issues which just reinforces the fact that yoga is good for me and I need to get back into it.  Nothing major though.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Plane tickets! (repeat)

12. Where did most of your money go?

Rent/Two Households.  Plane Tickets.  Savings account.

13. What did you get really excited about?

I was/am really happy I finally got back to San Diego.  The Tahoe party for Mark was really awesome.

14. What song will always remind you of 2019?

“ME!” by Taylor Swift.  Although I like other songs better from the album, that song was everywhere this past Summer.  The same goes for “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X.  I also really liked his NBD, “thought I made it obvious” coming out over the Summer.

“Good as Hell” by Lizzo.  I’m not a hipster- I didn’t know about Lizzo prior to everyone and their mother this past year.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Same.  Pretty happy.

– thinner or fatter? Fatter, will be thinner by 40!

– richer or poorer? Richer (continuing to save)

16. What’s one thing you wish you had done more of?

Yoga!

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Phone-scrolling.  Gossip site reading during the second half of the year- I was so good the first half!

18. How did you spend Christmas?

SMS and I spent Christmas Eve and Day in Newport Beach with his family.  It was mellow and really enjoyable.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

FLEABAG, far and away.  I also liked Killing Eve (Hulu), Bodyguard (Netflix) and Big Little Lies, Season 2 (HBO). I don’t think I love Schitt’s Creek as much as most people do but it is funny.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

Fiction: The Overstory by Richard Powers, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, A Little Life by Hanya Yanahigara

Non-fiction: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

The Highwomen album, Taylor Swift Lover album, Lizzo Cuz I Love You

SMS and I also saw Hamilton in SF and we loved it!  I also liked soundtracks to the Netflix movies I watched (Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great)

I saw some great concerts: Anderson East with Lucy Silvas; Avett Brothers with Lake Street Dive; Lizzo

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

The Favourite. FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.  Always Be My Maybe. Someone GreatThe Biggest Little Farm.  These five are also the only movies I watched during the year.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

39. A long California weekend that was wonderful!  SMS is the best planner.  I also had a memorable Korean spa experience that was my own doing/fault.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

It’s been a hard transition between jobs.  Even though I very much wanted to move to San Diego, it was harder than I expected to leave the clinical practice I developed and start from the ground up in a new place.  It’s getting better, but it was definitely a source of mixed feelings and frusteration.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?

I am really struggling with the idea of being fashionable in a time where all the worst trends from the 1990s are back in full force- velvet, scrunchies, crop-tops, super-weird and unflattering-on-everyone jean cuts although this time, instead of super low-cut, it’s super high-waisted causing an epidemic of long-butts and poochy bellies.

26. What kept you sane?

SMS and my family!  Definitely not the parakeets.  They are making me talk aloud to myself…wait, wait!  This is not really true.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019

You can tell a lot about a person by his/her reaction to the fact that I ran five miles and ate a dozen donuts in under an hour.

The best 48 hours in LA!

Excuse the blatant SEO attempt but I would love to get more blog followers in 2020.  Why this year and not, say, several years ago when blogs were actually in their heyday?  Eh, who knows?

So, since SMS was already in San Diego and we had the weekend to ourselves, we decided to take a road trip to LA.  We meant to leave around lunch, but tragedy struck…

Edward-bird, the most skittish and food-avoidant of the four paraquitos, bolted for the door as I was leaving for work Friday morning.  I saw him out of the corner of my eye when he had already made it outside.  Although we waited around all day and tried to lure him back, he was nowhere to be found after a brief 10 a.m. sighting by SMS.  I am sad, although his real parents (aka, my Mom and Dad) seem to be handling it well.  Maybe because they told me to let them fly out the door months ago.  But I will not!  At least not all of them.  So, now there are three…

After dusk, we locked up the apartment and headed up to LA.  We stopped for a charge at One Paseo and had dinner at North Italia.  It was delicious and an easy stop, one we hadn’t planned or researched but still ended up with a great dinner.  We arrived in LA, parked in the public parking lot (saving $30/night, yeah!), and walked to the hotel.  We stayed at the Kimpton Everly, where I had booked a last-minute reservation under the military rate.  I was expecting a room over the dumpster but instead, we got a room on the top floor, #16!  The view was spectacular, day and night!

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Amazing room and view on the 16th floor!

After a coffee, we headed out to SQRL, a very cool cafe in Virgil Village, LA.  We ordered coffee, the Big Tot, the ricotta toast rainbow-jam style, and the sexy Saturday biscuit, which, if you ate too many of them, would make your figure decidedly unsexy!  It was delicious and a great, if crowded, place to eat.

After the huge breakfast, we went to Runyon Canyon for a hike.  We were not swarmed by the paparazzi nor did we see a celebrity but we did see beautiful views of LA and the large houses/estates in the surrounding area.

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Ready for our close-up!  See the Hollywood Sign/Smudge between our heads?
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Panorama View!

After Runyon Canyon, we attempted to go to the Getty but the traffic back-up was insane. So, we made a quick change of plans and went to the Huntington Library.  We grabbed a quick lunch at the cafe before wandering around the gardens, which were spectacular. My favorite was definitely the cactus garden, although the entire place was beautifully done.

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Reach for the sky!
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Cactus or kale?
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It looked like a scene from Alice in Wonderland

We also walked through the Japanese garden, which was quite nice and had an interesting bonsai collection.  I don’t usually pay too much attention to bonsai exhibits but this was pretty cool.  I liked the bonsai that looked like little forest groves in miniature.

 

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Hanging out on the hill in the Japanese Garden

We went back to the hotel and went to Cleo for dinner.  A blogger/podcaster I follow recommended it.  It was fine, but I wouldn’t go back.  SMS put it best when he said it felt a little Gaslamp-like (downtown SD)- sort of tourist-trappy and overpriced.

While we were walking back to the hotel, we saw a ton of muscle cars and low-riders cruising and parking on Hollywood Blvd.  It was quite a scene with loud music from most of the cars and lots of spectators.  I feel lucky we walked by!

After a good night’s sleep and a room-service breakfast (such a treat!), we headed out to the Getty.

The Getty is such an architectural delight in addition to great museum.  We stood on several balconies and admired the views.  We also went to the visiting Manet exhibit focussing on his later work, which was excellent.  We also visited some of the permanent collection.

The left photo is of Manet’s “Still Life with Oysters and Champagne,” which matched our festive mood with oysters the night before and the New Year coming up!  I think icon paintings are super cool and “The Coronation of the Virgin” by Gentile da Fabriano was my favorite of the bunch.

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In the Manet exhibit, the side description had the most spirited quote from Manet regarding a gift of mandarin oranges: “Since M. Étienne Barroil is a gentleman he sent me a taste of his sunshine.  When I go out, I fill my pockets with them and given them to the local children…They’d probably prefer money, but I prefer to give them something I enjoy.  The pleasures of this world!  They’re made of things that mean little to some but a lot to others.”

 

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time!

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2019 Christmas Card of the Year!

Christmas festivities throughout December…

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I blogged about it “December 7” thanks to back-dating, but SMS and I went to December Lights and recreated our meeting 7 years ago!  We went during the day because we went to his sister and husband’s Christmas party that evening.

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The next week, I travelled back to Virginia to do three cochlear implants.  It was supposed to be four but my last patient had uncontrolled hypertension with a headache. So, elective surgery was deemed too risky.  In addition to resident lectures and operating, I had a very full social calendar!  On the Wednesday, I got my haircut by MonaLisa.  If you are ever in Norfolk, she has my highest recommendation!  She also cuts the most stylish couple in Norfolk’s hair so if my hair looks like a rat’s nest, it’s my fault, not MonaLisa!  That evening, I went to Codex for a solo dinner.  The next night, I went to Codex with my two friends from the Norfolk bookclub I started and is still going strong.  On Friday, I went to SantaLand Diaries at the Well theater with my friend and several of her neighborhood women friends.  It was a great group, the play was awesome, and we went out to St. Germaine’s for drinks afterwards.

On Saturday, I got up at 4:15 (ugh!) to catch a flight back to the West Coast for SMS’ company party, a huge bash with 700+ guests in a transformed space at the company’s headquarters.  It was a really well done, festive affair!

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Looking sparkly for the party, per invite dress code!

 

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Photos weren’t allowed inside so we took advantage of the photo station!

The next week, back in San Diego, I went to a very cute and mercifully short school holiday concert that Rip and Linda’s neighbor’s children participated in.  It definitely put us in the Christmas spirit!

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Festive attire!  Would have fit in at Lucid!

Christmas cards started trickling in and I was delighted to receive a card from my friend’s nom de plume persona, who is a successful writer of motorcycle club romance novels.  Did you know that romance novels have lots of sub-genres?  Since I don’t really read them (except some of my friend’s books), it was news to me.

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This would fall on Santa’s naughty list!

SMS and I went to the Crack Shack when he arrived for the Christmas holiday week.  It was very delicious.  I got the matzo ball pozole and can definitely recommend.  Not so sure about the bathrobe sweater look on anyone under 6 feet tall but, hey, I’m trying to stay up with the trends!  Tag did not specify height requirement!

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Festive chicken!
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Delightfully fuzzy Sherpa sweater/pajama top from Mom and Dad. Also trendy!

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas in Newport Beach.  We had family quality time with SMS’ Mom and Dad, and his two grandfathers at two different family dinners.

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Christmas morning rainbow!

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Norfolk friends we saw in Costa Mesa.  Jordan and I feel this picture is truest to life!  Handsome men with laayyyy-ddiiiess!!!

 

 

Highlights: November 2019

Another month mash-up!  At the beginning of the month, SMS and I took a walk over to the Cantor Arts Center.  We enjoyed the temporary exhibit West x Southwest: Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.  We also looked at the objects in the “Melancholy Museum,” an organized presentation of many items collected by Leland Stanford the III, the only child of Leland Stanford, Jr. and who died at the age of 16 from typhoid.  The pictures above are the death masks of the three Stanfords (macabre!) and on the left, an Ansel Adams picture.  Mrs. Stanford’s death story is especially interesting since she was poisoned twice and the second time, died.  She was murdered and it is an unsolved crime!!!

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I went to UCSD for Grand Rounds during the week and decided to document this statue’s ignominy of getting constantly crapped on by birds.

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SMS gave me this cool mug!  Thank you!!!

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Haha, the perils of taking your questions to the internet!

SMS and I spent the weekend in Newport.  I got a breakfast-in-a-glass Bloody Mary and had SMS take a picture in front of Birdie to show to the paraquitos!

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Newport Beach, CA

 

The next weekend, I took a few days off of work for a family vacation.  First, I stayed with my grandfather in Stuart, FL for  a few days which was really relaxing and fun.  My grandfather just became a Bridge Master, so I took a picture of his trophy glass.  I also took a picture of the many panic button lanyards at the gym…hazards of working out when older but hey, it’s good to be alive and kicking, just not on the floor unable to get up.

Then I drove down to Bay Harbour/North Miami for a family wedding, Dad’s side.  On the way, I stopped for lunch and a quick walk at the Morikami Museum.  The Japanese gardens were gorgeous.  I enjoyed lunch on an outdoor deck and during that time, I decided I really liked Southern Florida in November!

I was the only one of my immediate family who could make it and since my cousins had been great in coming to our weddings, I wanted to show up for theirs.  It was absolutely beautiful with a ceremony on the beach and the reception indoors at the Four Seasons.

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Selfie with my aunt and uncle who still tell me stories about when I would sleep over at their apartment in NYC, circa 1985.

On the way back, I connected through Chicago which meant I could get a margarita roadie to go while making my way across the airport.  Yeah, I really needed that!  *Eyeroll*  But how can I stay away from Rick Bayless?!?!  I also met a woman who has a “real” company and a “fun” company.  We talked about her “fun” company, which specializes in cashmere onesies.  She was rocking one herself and both the flight attendant and I thought it was wonderful.  It’s pricy but so tempting!  Don’t worry, have still resisted temptation…so far!

I arrived home to a full apartment since our friends were visiting.  The A family had a crazy-busy San Diego itinerary- they went to the Zoo, Safari Park, Legoland, AND SeaWorld!  I worked during the week, but we would meet up afterwards for dinner.  On Wednesday, I watched Ishaan while the parents had a date night.  Even though Ishaan and I had fun, I am no match in the popularity contest once SMS arrives!

Yes, Ishaan made SMS a poster and we picked him up from the airport.  On the way back, we stopped at the Spruce St suspension bridge, which made Ishaan a little nervous.

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The next day, we all went to La Jolla for lunch at the Taco Stand (so good!), followed by a trip down to the Cove and the Children’s Beach, now overrun by sunbathing seals.

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Drinks in La Jolla!

Afterwards, we went to Cabrillo National Monument and walked around the tide pools at sunset.  It was beautiful!

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Gorgeous!
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Dos amigos!

We went to the top to overlook San Diego and saw a really cool focal rain storm.  It was hard to capture on camera, but we did our best!

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We met up with John at Craft & Commerce, which everyone enjoyed.  Jyotsna ranked their cocktails slightly higher than Herb & Wood, but thought both places were amazing.

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Finally, SMS and I found a new-to-us restaurant, A Taste of Denmark.  Their smørrebrøds, with homemade multigrain bread, were on point!  The herring was my favorite.

To end the month, SMS and I took a walk through the Hotel Del to look at the Christmas decorations.  We also caught a beautiful sunset from the beach.

Highlights: October 2019

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Wrapping up October with a quick fly-by!  I have to be done by the New Year- new resolution, more frequent blogging.  This has only been made and broken many times!

So, first things first.  The above picture is from a dresser I have from my parents.  It dates back to childhood and I just recently noticed by sister’s long-ago vandalism.  When I texted her on WhatsApp (would we ever have thought?!) she said, “That’s me!!”

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I finally got my own office and moved out of my temporary digs.  As a present, I left a few Milk Duds in the toilet bowl (see an earlier post entitled, Office Prankster).  I think it’s funny and I’m fairly certain was never seen by anyone other than me and the janitor.

I found Sidecar Doughnuts in Del Mar Heights.  This was a delicious, although unnecessary, discovery.

SMS and I took a hike at Huddart Park after the Wunderlich parking lot was full.  It ended up being a stroke of good luck because now we know of two cool parks to hike in, both with second-growth redwoods.  From the sign, it would be safer to have a child with us that we can hold in front of us should a mountain lion stalk us.

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We also went to the Blue Angels show during Fleet Week, San Francisco.  I tried very hard to picture myself as a sailor.  Hmmmm….  The Blue Angels were pretty spectacular and we had a great spot on a gorgeous day!

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I got tickets to the SLAC Community Open House and surprised SMS with a fun date night.  I feel this date night disappointed my sister-in-law, whom I had told we had a cool date night and the next day, when I told her where it was, I could feel the palpable “You guys are such dorks” waves come through the phone lines.

We managed to get some limited tickets to see the actual linear accelerator.  It was very cool so I took a few photos.  I think I need a klystron, with accompanying warning sign, in my own workspace.

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I found a cool outdoor/indoor coffee bar in Little Italy, Lofty!

Jenny invited me to Lizzo!  It was an excellent concert!

SMS and I had San Diego’s best!breakfast! at Hob Nob Hill restaurant.

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New wall art!

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Pretty flower shop in at the North Park/South Park junction!

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Hanging out in San Diego, not sure where?  Wait!  We are at Cabrillo National Monument.  Looking cute, might delete later!

And finally, Halloween.  The department secretary organized everyone (read: six fools) to buy Waldo costumes, which was a lot of fun.  I made a layered chocolate cake from Martha Stewart, which was delicious.  I did have a Martha fail while making it (see rightmost photo), where I learned that you can over whip Whipped Cream!